Tuesday, March 11, 2008

After the Race

Thanks everyone for the nice comments, they are all very much appreciated. The more I think about the race the happier I am with it. McMillan's running calculator has this as my best race ever, but the WAVA calculator rates it slightly less than the 10k I ran last year in Adare. When I crossed the finishing line I was disappointed to miss 65 minutes, but I have come to the conclusion that it was never on the cards. It all comes back to the pneumonia.6 weeks is not a lot of training by any means, and taking that into account I think I ran as well as I could. I have been wondering if I could have kept up with Grellan and Brendan when they pulled away from me at 3.5 miles, but looking at my heart rate chart tells me that my heart rate was already way too high. It had gone all the way up to 187 on the second mile, 97% of my max, and so far higher than is recommended for a 10 miler, it's off the scale. In light of that I'm surprised I managed to hold on as well as I did.

Grellan pointed out that I am on one of the race photos after all, a rather dark one though. I'm the one in the yellow singlet, Brendan is two steps in front of me. It must have been taken around the 3 mile marker, probably just as I was realising that I was falling apart.

Since this was only a preparation race for Connemara, I didn't hang around for recovery either. My first plan was to run a long run on Monday, following the possibly dumb theory that running on tired legs is good ultra training. However, the weather forecast had left no doubts, there were storms of serious magnitude on the way, and I wondered if I would be able to run at all. I woke at 5:30m which would have been enough time for 15 miles and turned around straight away, the wind and rain sounded just brutal. I did get up about an hour later and braved the elements for 7.5 miles. The legs were just as stiff as expected, but I managed ok. So much so, in fact, that I added 4 miles at lunchtime on the treadmill in the gym, while watching the world almost get blown apart outside.

The wind was even worse today, but I was determined to get my workout done anyway. The sound of the rain was discouraging as I was about to venture out, so I waited 5 minutes, and luck was on my side as the rain gradually lessened, enough to be able to go out. By some miracle I managed to avoid all puddles on our driveway and went on my way relatively dry. Unfortunately by mile 5 a torrential downpour started, and within half a minute I was soaked to the bones. I contemplated turning back home after the first loop, but just as I reached the junction in question the rain stopped again, and I headed towards the second loop. The wind never ceased, and it was bad, no doubts about it. I looked up the data in the weather pages afterwards, and it reported gusts of up to 100km/h (62mph). I don't think I had to face gales quite as bad as that, but it was challenging all the same. It seemed to brighten up later on and I cycled to work, but in the afternoon Niamh called me and basically forbade me to cycle home, it was too dangerous. She gave me a lift instead. The conditions are finally supposed to improve during the day tomorrow.

I'm planning a long training run on Saturday, or maybe Sunday. One of those runs only ultra runners do, 4 hours or so, slowly, just spending time on the feet. First I need to convince Niamh, and then I have to hope for better weather. The forecast is unsure, it depends on who you believe.

The heart rate for the runs since the race has been really low. I have noticed that phenomenon before; after each race my heart rate drops a level. I think that's a good thing. I would race more often if there were more races available.
10 Mar
am: 7.5 miles, 1:05:47, 8:46 pace, HR 140
pm: 4 miles, 34:40, 8:40 pace, treadmill
11 Mar
14.1 miles, 2:00:31, 8:32 pace, HR 138


  1. Ugh, conditions sound brutal. I should be grateful things here haven't been that bad.

    I agree with your running on tired legs theory. I'm still pretty wiped out today from my 15K Sunday, so the 13 miles I got in this morning felt much further...and ought to count as much further too I think!

  2. That rising HR to mile 2 says it all. If you had kept your head at the 1 mile mark and ignored the timekeeper the HR rise may have eased off.

    McMillan shows that you are back to pre-pneumonia condition if not better which is very encouraging given that you were completely incapacitated.

    It's endurance as opposed to speed you now need for Connemara - no fear with the high mileage weeks you've been putting in.

  3. The real question is ... who is the woman to your left that seems to be passing you?

    The trouble with Race Calculators is the variability in anything over a 5K. Running 10 Miles on a course in Cork (I think it was Cork) on Sunday is entirely different that any course you ran last year. The hills are different, the temperature is different, the humidity is different and your health is different. You ran a hell of a race.

  4. congratulations Thomas with your 10 miler debut, nice job.

  5. Thomas getting "chicked", yes it sure looks like it ;-)

    We have been having some of the same weather here in Germany, high winds and lots of rain.

  6. Yes, how far ahead did she finish Thomas? ;)

    I've also noticed a lower HR the day following a race or hard track session - must be some sort of overcompensation. It's hard to get "race stress" in training.

    I hope the weather eases for the long run. I'd be worried about getting hit on the head by a gum tree branch in winds like that.